‘Bear Bets’: MLB gambling guide for the 2024 season

Baseball is back and so is Bear Bets!

Chris “The Bear” Fallica and Geoff Schwartz welcomed in FOX Sports MLB analyst Ben Verlander, the host of Flippin’ Bats, to give his best bets for the new 2024 MLB season. 

Verlander gave his picks for each division winner and along the way, all three shared their betting insights for the best-value prop and futures bets as well.

[Related: 2024 MLB predictions by Ben Verlander: Standings, playoffs, World Series]

Let’s dive in.


Ben’s division winner: Houston Astros (-110)

“You have two juggernauts [the Astros and the Rangers] at the top, but they both have injury issues with their pitching staffs right now. … I’m a little less concerned with the Astros’ rotation in terms of injuries than I am with the Rangers, which is why I like them in the AL West this year.”

Ben: Seattle Mariners (+2000) to win World Series

“I think there’s some good value with the Mariners here. The Mariners have that rotation in Luis Castillo, Logan Gilbert, George Kirby and Bryan Woo coming in at some point that they can be in a position to win a short series by throwing three or four great arms out there on the mound. Julio Rodriguez could be an MVP contender. I’m not saying I love their offense, but they’re a team that if they can get into the playoffs with that rotation, that bullpen and a star or two on offense, I do think they have some longshot value.”

The Bear: Mike Trout Under 94.5 RBIs

“That Angels team isn’t going to be very good this year and there’s no more Shohei Ohtani in the lineup. Trout dealt with a wrist injury last year and has been hurt a lot lately. How is he driving in runs outside of the solo home run here or there?”


Ben’s division winner: Minnesota Twins (-125)

“I think the gap has narrowed from the Twins and pretty much everybody else in that division besides the White Sox, but I still think the Twins should be and are the favorite for a reason. … They have far and away the best roster, especially on the offensive side.”

Ben: Tarik Skubal (+1000) to win AL Cy Young

“Skubal is that nasty, throwing 100 mph from the left side. … I think Skubal can put together a full season. When you look at Cy Young, it’s about innings in my opinion, pitching for your team almost every fifth day and getting close to that 200-inning mark with lots of strikeouts and a good ERA.”

The Bear: Royce Lewis (+3500) to win AL MVP

“If Lewis can stay on the field, with what he did in 240 at-bats last year, I think he could be really special.”

Geoff: Kansas City Royals (+900) to win division

“The Royals have improved. … This division is so open. It’s worth putting some money on the Royals at that number to possibly get there.”


Ben’s division winner: Baltimore Orioles (+190)

“It just felt like the writing was on the wall for this young core of guys to take the organization forward, but they were missing that ace of the rotation, and they got that. The Corbin Burnes addition is going to be huge for them. … I have some concerns with that bullpen, but I love this Orioles team.”

Ben: Juan Soto (+600) OR Adley Rutschman (+2500) to win AL MVP 

“I think no matter where he’s been, whether it be the Nationals while winning the World Series, or whether it be with the Padres having extreme talent around him in that lineup, he has never had protection in a lineup quite like Aaron Judge. If Aaron Judge is healthy and doing Aaron Judge things behind him, you have to pitch to Juan Soto. … I think he’s going to thrive in New York. If I were to dive a little bit deeper, I do think there’s some really good value on Rutschman. I think voters love catchers and the fact that Adley plays as much as he does, as a catcher for a team that’s going to be very, very good. … I think he’s going to put up some good numbers.”

Geoff: Jackson Holliday (+450) to win AL Rookie of the Year

“Holliday is a good wager to win Rookie of the Year with all the hype he’s getting. I know he’s down in the minors right now, but he’ll be called up soon.”

The Bear: New York Yankees UNDER 91.5 wins (-105)

“I think the Yankees are getting nothing out of Gerrit Cole this year. By all indications — like everyone who I’ve talked to about this injury — knows he’s headed toward surgery. You got Aaron Judge, whose toe is going to be something that he needs to have maintenance for basically throughout his career. It’s like you know it’s going to be built in that he’ll sit a couple of days. Giancarlo Staton hit .190 last year. What are you going to get out of him? I think this team, despite the addition of Soto and and some other moves that they made, this is still a team that I don’t think threatens the the Orioles in the East.”

The Bear: Curtis Mead (+6000) to win AL Rookie of the Year

“I even put a little pizza money on Curtis Mead, being that he actually made the [Opening Day] roster and with all the injuries that the Rays have. He’s got some opportunities there.”


Ben’s division winner: Atlanta Braves (-275)

“Ronald Acuna Jr., Matt Olson, Austin Riley, Michael Harris. … This is no slight at all to Brian Snitker. But if you give me that lineup, I could win in the regular season with the Atlanta Braves. That’s how good that lineup is.”

Ben: Spencer Strider (+425) to win NL Cy Young

“I know it’s a chalk pick, but Strider’s an easy one just sitting right there. That guy could strike out close to 300 people this year. And he had a little bit of an elevated ERA last year that I think does come down this year.”

Ben: Philadelphia Phillies (+1500) to win World Series

“You’re now going to get a full, healthy season of Bryce Harper. I think you’re gonna get a full season of Trea Turner going back to what he usually is. Zack Wheeler is an ace in that rotation. Aaron Nola is a great playoff pitcher… And at Citizens Bank Park, a tough place to win in October for a visiting team.”

NL Central

Ben’s division winner: Cincinnati Reds (+350)

“I have done the complete opposite of temper my expectations with the Reds. I am so high on them this year. … They have a lot of young, unproven talent that I believe in. They’ve been dealing with injury after injury over the last couple of weeks and trying to deter me, but I’m sticking with it.”

Geoff: David Bell (+800) to win NL Manager of the Year

“If the Reds do win the division as Ben expects, I have to imagine Bell would be up there for Manager of the Year with that turnaround.”

MLB Award Predictions: Can Atlanta Braves’ Ronald Acuña Jr. repeat as MVP & more!


Ben’s division winner: Los Angeles Dodgers (-550)

“Even in a world where Shohei Ohtani would miss time, that lineup is still so good, and it’s an unbelievable lineup with Shohei in it. I know the odds are insane and the rest of the division is catching up, but the Dodgers are still my division pick.”

Ben: Arizona Diamondbacks (-106) to make playoffs

“It’s not like they’re going to be a juggernaut in the league this year, but I think they improved big time. I think the addition of Eugenio Suarez over at third base and Joc Pederson at DH adds some thump into that lineup. Adding Eduardo Rodriguez and now Jordan Montgomery to a rotation that already had Zac Gallen and Merrill Kelly, now we’re talking one of the best rotations in baseball.”

Ben: Fernando Tatis Jr. (+1000) to win NL MVP

“He does it all — can hit for power with between 40 and 50 homers, can steal 40 or 50 bases and play a platinum glove right field when being out there for one season in his career and his life. He was very up and down after coming back from his suspension last year. But before that suspension, he was unbelievable, and his career just started taking off. It’s important to remember how young he is and that he never took a substance.””

Ben: Jackson Merrill (+950) to win NL Rookie of the Year

“I love the way he played in the Seoul Series. I love that he moved to centerfield. I love the poise that he has from the left side of the plate. He has the approach of a 10-year veteran at the plate. It really is fun to watch, and he’s got some pop as well.”

The Bear: San Francisco Giants to win NL Pennant (+2000) and World Series (+4500)

“We don’t know if they’re necessarily going to stay healthy, but if you’re trotting out Blake Snell, Logan Webb, Kyle Harrison and Jordan Hicks out there before you even get to Camilo Doval in the back end? I know the lineup isn’t great. Farhan Zaidi will figure it out and make whatever moves they need to make. The Giants feel like the type of team that will be built to win a bunch of short series.”

Geoff: Colorado Rockies UNDER 60.5 wins

“In each league there’s going to be one team who’s dreadful. Last year, the Rockies had 59 wins, and they seemingly got worse in the offseason. They made no improvements, and more importantly, everyone else in their division got better. The Rockies are going to be the punching bag of the NL.”

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